The Transformation of the Western State: The Growth of Democracy, Autocracy, and State Power Since 1800

  • Ted Robert Gurr
  • Keith Jaggers
  • Will H. Moore
On Measuring Democracy


This article uses POLITY II, a new dataset on the authority traits of 155 countries, to assess some general historical arguments about the dynamics of political change in Europe and Latin America from 1800 to 1986. The analysis, relying mainly on graphs, focuses first on the shifting balance between democratic and autocratic patterns in each world region and identifies some of the internal and international circumstances underlying the trends, and deviations from them. Trends in three indicators of state power also are examined in the two regions: the state's capacity to direct social and economic life, the coherence of political institutions, and military manpower. The state's capacity has increased steadily in both regions; coherence has increased in the European countries but not Latin America; while military power has fluctuated widley in both regions. The article is foundational to a series of more detailed longitudinal studies of the processes of state growth.


Political Participation Comparative International Development Chief Executive Composite Indicator American Political Science Review 


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© Springer 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ted Robert Gurr
  • Keith Jaggers
  • Will H. Moore

There are no affiliations available

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